This post contains whingeing. If you don’t like whingeing, you don’t have to read it. If you do read it, please don’t have a go at me in the comments for whingeing. Thank you.
The snowy weather actually suited me. I don’t tend to feel the cold, and anyway, one of the great advantages of living in a high-rise block of flats with other people’s heating on all around you is that the heat from your own place stays pretty much where it’s put. My bedroom has been unheated for the whole of the winter, and I haven’t felt the lack of it. The best thing about the cold, though, was that the threat of slipping (we had thick ice on the ground for getting on for 4 weeks in these parts) gave me a perfect excuse not to go out. I’d have to venture out to the supermarket every 3 or 4 days, picking my way over sheet-ice like an elderly spinster, and reacting with surprise when I came across something I didn’t expect, like the local stream being so thickly frozen that kids were taking it in turns to ride on an old sofa dragged around by their mates. But for most of the time I stayed comfortably indoors, and it was great. It was like hibernating.
As you will have gathered by now, it didn’t last. I have been having panic attacks, which is bad, and living in a constant state of high anxiety, which is worse. Or, if not worse, then certainly more disabling – a panic attack is awful for half an hour or so, and I feel pretty washed out for an hour or two afterwards, but the constant anxiety is, like the name suggests, constant. It stops me from doing everything, and from taking pleasure in everything.
More than that, it’s exhausting. It’s incredibly tiring, living in the constant fear of The Worst Thing Possible, but not knowing what that is, and so not having the slightest idea what to do about it. With days as exhausting as this, getting a good night’s sleep is the key thing – and I can’t sleep. I spend most of the nights standing at the window, looking down at the streetlights, watching the occasional car, the milk lorry, the newspaper lorry drive past. I try to read, but I’m too tired to concentrate, and the words jump on the page. I try to sleep with the light on, the light off, the radio murmuring quietly to itself, the radio silent – none of it works. I end up longing for the daylight to come, with its people and busses and sense of being part of the world, and then I spend the day waiting for the calm and quiet of the night. I can’t win.
I am physically out of sorts, too. The tail of my Annual New Year Cold is lingering, my tonsils are still swollen and my nose is stuffed up. If I sit quietly on the sofa I can hear my breath wheezing in and out, with a high-pitched whistle at the top of each inhalation. My guts are messed up – indigestion, heartburn, flatulence. I am developing red, itchy patches over my body – if I scratch them they start to hurt, but they never stop itching, the itch exists somewhere inside that I can’t get to it. I have cold sores growing at the corners of my mouth, ulcers on my gums. My nostrils are full of a smell like rotting meat. There is no meat in my flat, rotting or not, and the smell follows me wherever I go, wraps itself around me if I stand still for a moment in front of the supermarket shelves. I have tried bathing in case the smell is me, but it doesn’t go away. If I was superstitious I would say this was the smell of the grave, and a premonition of death.
We’re pretty much at the second (I think) anniversary of my mum’s death. It’s probably that.
I think, because I’m not sure, not even of something as important as that. I’m not sure of anything. I thought I had commented on some blogs yesterday, but I looked at them today, and the comments are not there. So either I commented and the comments were lost in the web, or I only imagined the comments – but I can see them, I can see them on the website as I read them back over, I can remember the confirmation notice, the memories are pin-sharp and crystal clear.
Other memories aren’t. I sit in front of TV shows, and they finish, and it’s like they never happened. Time is passing, but it’s arriving from nowhere, and vanishing into a void. If my memory is fucked, then I know that’s a worrying sign. I can hear whispers behind my back, but I can’t understand what they are saying. There are movements in corners. This is probably just tiredness, but it’s a worry, too, depending on how far it goes. I don’t want to go back to 2008.